SRA Member’s News

This page is dedicated to providing news and activity details on what various Sirmoor Rifles Association (SRA) Members are involved with.  We hope it will provide an interesting addition to the SRA website.  If any SRA Member is involved in anything that others may find interesting then please let either the Honorary Secretary or the Webmaster know

25 Feb 19


Carina Evans (d/o Lt Col Digby Willoughby) is the first woman to complete whole course since ban on female tobogganists was lifted  >> Click here to read.

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24 Jan 19



By Major Yambahadur Gurung BEM 2GR

Major Dilbahadur was awarded with the FOCSIV (the Italian Federation of NGOs) 25th International Volunteer Award in Rome on 29th November 2018 in the Volunteer from the South category.  This “continues to be the only recognition by NGOs, for a commitment that is a choice of life and value at the service of the community” as explained by the FOCSIV President Gianfranco Cattai, that is awarded annually, only two were awarded in 2018, the other being a lady in the Young European Volunteer category – two volunteers, two lives, two cultures and two different ages, both experienced in many parts of the world, but with one goal: to improve the lives of the most vulnerable people, creating opportunities and opportunities that allow them to build a possible future. DB Saheb is the first Asian to be awarded. View link

His citation reads:

Dil Bahadur Gurung, 79, born in a small mountain village, Galyam, 1400 meters high in the Syangja district of Nepal. Dil Bahadur, in the local language “the brave”, enlisted at the age of 17 in the body of the Gurkha, the special unit of the British Army consisting of only Nepalese. Dil Bahadur has worked in many countries of the world especially Eastern and was also in the Guard Corps of Queen Elizabeth, role for which he was named MVO – Member of the Royal Victorian Order. In 1985 he took his leave with the rank of Major and returned to Pokhara, Nepal, where he now resides. Married with 5 children and numerous grandchildren, he considers himself a lucky man and feels he has received a lot from life. Since his return to Nepal he has taken care of the poorest, the most vulnerable, Pokhara slum . At Galyam, he contributed to the construction of an aqueduct that brings drinking water to the village, made the only road, expanded the present school from the sixth to the tenth grade, improving the training offer with qualified teachers, organizing a library, a science and a computer science classroom. Last February, during the celebrations for the 60th anniversary of the school, the Major received a warm sign of affection and esteem for his incessant work to improve the living conditions of this small community. “To be back, after living far from his village and from his own country, Nepal; for having chosen to dedicate the rest of his life to volunteer work, with constant and all-encompassing efforts … “

Those in 2/2GR will remember, Dilbahadur Saheb was the Gurkha Major from Oct 1982 to Nov 1985. He was also the Queen’s Orderly Officer from Mar 1981 to Mar 1982. Major Dilbahadur thanks all Sirmooris and friends who voted him online. He was recommended by the Italian NGO VISPE (office in Milan) who had supported his work in his village for the last 20 years.

With his birth place at Galyam village in Shyangja, since he retired as ARO in 1995, he took interest in rebuilding his village school. INTERVITA ONLUS, an Italian NGO were his first supporters through his contact while with BGN. He served as Chairman of his village NGO GONESA (Good Neighbour Association Service Nepal) since 2008 but was Advisor from 2003 when they were set up. Apart from his support to the GWS built Galyam village school (previously to Class 7 only hut he raised it to Class 10), his work also included supporting maternity needs of women and constructing a school for blind children. He then extended his work to helping 26 slum areas – 1 in Tanahun (Kotre), 1 in Gorkha and the rest in Pokhara valley (Ramghat, Hyangja Byansi, area behind airport, Chhorepatan, behind Mountain museum and so on, 3 handed over to Nepal government), setting up nursery classrooms and providing teachers, books, stationary, school bags and snack benefiting some 500 children aged 2 1/2 to 4 1/2, office with a clinic and a nursery classroom is in Birauta, Pokhara. In addition, another 500 bright children from slum areas were provided with education to Class 12 in government schools and were also given school bags and dress.

When he heard the good news he travelled from Kathmandu on 26 Nov, he was received on arrival by VISPE General Secretary Antonio Cassino who organised his programme, transport and accommodation (hotel near the Netherland Embassy) and accompanied him throughout. On 27th, he went sightseeing in the very historical Vatican city and also saw the Roman empire architecture. He was joined by his nephew 21165857 Cpl Suryabahadur  Gurung Ex-Mortar Platoon 1/2GR and his wife Gutu Gurung plus his close friend Richard Dutli, a Swiss and his wife Sabeth. On 29th, the event was held at the Accademia Nazionale Dei Lincei in Rome. Before the presentation, he was interviewed on two Italian TV channels through an Italian interpreter. Message from the Italian President was read followed by speech by past Italian PM Paulo Zentonio, Vice Foreign Secretary lady and foreign volunteers from Brazil, Morocco and so on, finally by his project supporter VISPE General Secretary. The two awards were chosen from 10 short listed candidates by a Jury composed of some 12 very senior members from the Italian universities and influential institutes. Afterwards, his Swiss friend presented DB Saheb with Swiss Frank 1,000 cheque. In the evening at the FOCSIV 25th Anniversary dinner party, DB Saheb was honoured to cut the cake with the President. Next day he was interviewed by an Italian Chief journalist. He returned to Nepal on 2nd Dec.


No doubt this award will raise his credibility so that more donors will be attracted to DB Saheb and GONESA. We are proud that a Lali Gurkha Major Saheb has achieved such international recognition. We all Sirmooris wish him and GONESA the best. If you wish to contact DB Saheb to support his projects, his email address is 

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20 Nov 18

Major Sudan Dewan

Remembrance Sunday in Glasgow 2018  

Combined Dashain and Tihar Celebration in Glasgow

Gurkha Memorial Park Dharan.

This update was received from Maj (Retd) Lalit Chandra Dewan MBE 6 GR who was in Dharan recently and took the time to visit the newly ‘under construction’ Memorial Park.  The project is ongoing by the Eastern Gurkhas and may take a good couple of years to complete.  Just out of interest, when the old Dharan Cantonment (Ghopa Camp) was there, besides many of our eastern Sirmooris, the following 2 GR British Officers completed tours in the old Dharan Cantonment (Ghopa Camp) before its closure 1989, as memory serves:

Colonel H Shakespear (AA & QMG HQ BGN, Dharan from 12 December 1966 to 18 June 1969)

Brigadier E D Smith (Commander British Gurkhas Line of Communication, Dharan, Nepal, from 26 September 1971 to 22 September 1973)

Maj(GCO) Narbu Lama MBE (Chief Administrative Officer British Gurkha Depot Dharan, from 14 October 1974 to February 1980).

Brigadier Vernon Beachamp. (Detached to HQ British Gurkhas, Dharan, Nepal, as temporary AA & QMG and Deputy Commander, from 28 June 79 to 22 Sep 79).

Brigadier Mike Smith. (Commander and Chief Recruiting Officer of British Gurkhas Nepal with his HQ in Dharan, Nepal, from 20 June 1982 to 6 June 1985).

Brigadier Bruce Jackman OBE MC (SO1 Chief of Staff/Deputy Commander HQ British Gurkhas Nepal from 22 April 1984 to 30 Aug 1985)

Maj (QM) Les Peacock (QM and MTO HQ British Gurkhas Nepal in Dharan from 4 December 1986 [assuming the appointment on 15 December 1986] to 30 August 1989).

Brig John Brewer CBE (SO1 Deputy Commander/Commandant Dharan HQ, HQ British Gurkhas Nepal, from 16 October 1988 to 9 November 1989 where he planned and implemented the closure of Dharan Cantonment).

Maj Rambahadur Gurung MBE. (Posted to BGD Dharan as CAO from 6 Feb 1987 to Feb 1990 during which time there was a major earthquake in East Nepal and for his efforts during the recovery phase he was appointed MBE.

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9 Sep 2018

Carina Evans – ‘The Chemin de Liberte’ walked in early July 2018 in memory of her late grandfather Bob Wade (SOE).

Capt Bishnu Singh  – ‘Doko Challenge 2018’ – Bishop Stortford Independent.  

 ‘I decided to take up the challenge of running 207 parkruns with a 22kg doko in five years. Within this period, 1 am also going to do five marathons in five different continents without a doko and my last marathon will be the Everest Marathon in Nepal’ . See the newspaper article from Bishop Stortford Independent newspaper dated 11Jul 18.  Go to to donate.
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19 Jan 2018

Maj Sudan DewanGWT Scottish Branch Charity Lunch.

21 June 2017

Maj Sudan DewanGlasgow Gurkha News

Major John BurlisonTreks in Nepal

Major John BurlisonBelize

 10 Apr 2017

Maj Sudan Dewan – Highland Joy – Bagging the Munros.

Maj John Burlison – What Of Queen Elizabeth Barracks, Church Crookham Today?

Capt Bishnu Sing – Brighton Marathon 9 April 2017. BISHNU is raising money to help PTSD Resolution. Read Bishnu’s story here and support him generously on his just giving page.

Col Christopher Lavender – View from the Orient.


(David and Joanna Thomas are much involved in the CAIRN Trust [] but what exactly is it? Here is a short brief, but do look at the web site as well.)


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04 Mar 2017MAJ SUDAN DEWAN BEM (1976 – 1974)– VISIT TO KOHIMA

Members will be interested to read of Major Sudan Dewan’s visit to Kohima:



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WO2 Khadak Chettri third generation pride  

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21 Nov 2016 More News from Christopher Lavender. 

The Supermoon over Tibet -sent by a Chinese friend.


Remembrance Sunday Hong Kong and the Brigade of Gurkhas Wreath laid by Christopher Lavender every year.


Sirmoorees on Remembrance Sunday at the Cenotaph:

L- R: Narendra Grg (60619), Mahendra Grg (C Coy), Iswor Grg( 63526), CL , TejPrakash Pun


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06 Nov 2016 Kadoorie  Charitable Foundation (KCF) and Philanthropic Travels in 2015 – Christopher Lavender KCF Director.  

Philanthropic Travels in 2015

I thought some Sirmoorees might be interested to know the extent of the Kadoorie Family’s philanthropic activities – outside Nepal and the Kadoorie Farm in Hong Kong – with which most are familiar. The main conduit for this funding is through the Kadoorie Charitable Foundation (KCF) – of which I am the Director – supplemented by the family’s own personal funding. This account is written of my travels in 2015 – but with a few comments to bring affairs up to date in November 2016.

I commence this travelogue in Bombay in 2015 – where I have visited many times over the last 18 years trying to overcome endemic corruption and restore – at our cost – a school built in the late 19th Century and catering for 1,000 children that bears the Kadoorie name. But everyone wants a slice of the cake – whoever is doing the baking  – and I am not sanguine about the outcome! Bombay comes in the middle of a busy six weeks. The last week in August saw me in Bangladesh visiting a livelihoods project – working as we prefer to through women’s self help groups – in the far north of the country at Kurigram. This necessitated an 8 hour drive from Dhaka – which was followed almost immediately by a visit the other end of the country –jssm_cimg0144 Chittagong – to see what we can do to help the ship breakers who break up huge container ships and tankers on the beach – and are paid US $ 3 for a 12 hour shift for this extremely dangerous work involving all sorts of toxic waste. We hope to set up a medical facility and provide training for dealing with these dangerous chemicals – a worker died in an explosion during our visit. Two days in Hong Kong and then to Nepal for my second visit this year to catch up with our post earthquake work – constructing very impressive temporary housing in Gorkha District – and looking at the administrative side of the Kadoorie Agricultural Aid Association (KAAA). Al Howard (who served for six years with 6GR) ran KAAA for 4 years having succeeded Bill Smart at the end of 2012. He then relieved William Shuttlewood as Director GWT. Colonel Andrew Mills (Ex – QGE) took over as Director KAAA in April. Andrew and his team are responsible for delivering a community aid programme with an annual budget of approximately GBP 3.5 million, working alongside the Gurkha Welfare Scheme. KAAA (BGN) remains the pillar of the family’s philanthropic heritage and will celebrate its 50th Anniversary in 2018.

During the visit we also opened a new footbridge and water project in Dolpa. The GoN have chosen to celebrate the 6,000th trail-bridge built in Nepal by a ceremony at a new KAAA bridge – a testimony to KAAAs high standards of construction and maintenance.







We now build Micro-hydro projects up to 150 KW providing electricity to up to six villages at a time.jssm__dsc1897jssm_img_0104







I also visited the Dhaulagiri Deaf School in Baglung with Maj Yambahadur Gurung (2 GR and the KCF’s Consultant in Nepal for non-KAAA projects – who has been working for us for 15 years) where we are funding the building of a hostel. A most impressive principal – and a well chosen name for the school with stunning views of Dhaulagiri.  Then back to Hong Kong for three days in a vain attempt to keep up on the paperwork before flying to the UK to visit a cancer research programme family members are funding, a meeting with the NGO ‘Impact’ with whom we work closely in Nepal and Bangladesh, an exploratory visit to Imperial College (Sir Michael Kadoorie has an honorary doctorate) and lunch with Gen Sir Peter Wall, Chairman of the GWT. All built around our memorable 200th Anniversary Sirmoor  Luncheon at the Travellers Club on 12th September – with my next destination being Houston to check up on Michael’s funding of a programme of research into personalised cancer therapy at MD Anderson Cancer Centre. A total of seven scientists to brief me – a struggle to keep up with the jargon and technical data – but I held my own. Accountability is what it is all about ! Then to San Francisco to visit a partner of 11 years standing – the Hesperian Foundation- who publish medical books for use in developing countries – ‘Where there is no Doctor’ , ‘Mother and Child’ etc. hugely impressive books and very simply and clearly illustrated . We pay the cost of translating the books into Nepali, Khmer, Chinese, Laos etc.

And so having travelled around the World – I arrive back in Hong Kong , for three days and an in-house funding meeting before jumping on a flight to Bombay – where I am now. Hopefully we may make progress at today’s meeting – but recent history does not encourage optimism. Either way I take a late night flight tonight transiting through Bangkok and arrive at Chiang Mai tomorrow morning to visit a home for cerebral palsy children that we have been supporting in a modest way – run by a saintly English woman – and then on to another long term project helping the Karen Hill Tribes, near the border with Burma with water, sanitation and livelihoods. jssm_img_1519 A visit to a hospital in Mae Sot which ministers to the significant cross border nomadic Burmese population (we have provided the outpatients block) completes my Thailand visit and then it is off to Vietnam to visit an NGO near Hoi An that looks after Down Syndrome and autistic children.




Much of my time is spent in the back of a 4WD and while we insist on our partners satisfying a safety protocol jssm_img_0194relating to the vehicle and the driver in reality you just hope that it is not your unlucky day. I have probably been very lucky to have been involved in only one fatal accident in 18 years (in Burma) – and happily survived to tell the tale.



We have between 70-90 projects under funding at any one time focused on livelihoods, healthcare and education. Half of these are in China, with the others being in Nepal, Burma, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam , and a few nominal projects in Israel and in the West Bank – which I visit every 3 years or so.  The key to good philanthropy is not so much in the ‘giving’  as the implementation, and  the only way to ensure that our funding is being used for the correct purpose is to visit our funding partners – before , during and after funding. It is for this reason that my passports (I have two) are so well stamped! I am assisted by three others in our team who make field visits and it is not uncommon to find us all travelling at the same time.

Reviewing this in 2016, last year was a very busy year, made more exciting by the celebrations surrounding the 200th Anniversary of the Sirmoor Rifles and ‘G 200’! Jai Sirmoor

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The Sirmoor Rifles Golf Championship has been played at Corhampton Golf Club since 1999, the year when one of the Members, Lieutenant Colonel Peter Kemmis Betty MC, an ex-officer of the 2nd Goorkhas (Sirmoor Rifles), first invited his Regimental Association’s Golf Society to play there.

The Championship Trophy itself was presented to the 2nd King Edward VII’s Own Goorkhas (The Sirmoor Rifles) by ‘Some Honorary Officers’ in India in 1923. It was won by Peter’s elder brother, Mervyn, in 1933; and by his son Richard in 2007 and 2008; and by his grandson Alexander in 2012.

js46_L_R Standing_ Richard Jonathan Alexander Ann Derek Burton (nephew). Front Row L_R_ Charlie Peter David.The Championship this year was played on Thursday 5th May, which was Peter Kemmis Betty’s 100th birthday. And five Kemmis Bettys – sons Richard, Charlie and David, and grandsons Jonathan and Alexander – all vied for the trophy on that day. Peter came to present the Trophy.





js46_Peter KB presents the Trophy to Lt Col Steve Clifton with Brig Bruce Jackman overseeing the presentation.

During the presentation ceremony the 31 players were reminded of the eventful life Peter has lived – darkened only by his 3½ years as a Japanese POW in Changi, Singapore, after he lead his company of Gurkhas during the succession of defensive actions fought by his Battalion (2nd Battalion 2nd K. E. O. Goorkhas) against the Japanese all the way from the Malay/Thai Border down the Malaya Peninsular to Singapore where the Battalion was ordered to surrender.

Peter was awarded the Military Cross when his company held the vital bridge over the Sungei Dipang River against successive Japanese attacks until it could be blown. Worse was to come at Slim River when, despite fierce resistance against tanks and waves of screaming Japanese infantry, the Battalion was outflanked and became stranded on the far bank when the bridge was blown. The Battalion had to make its own way across the river and many Gurkha soldiers were drowned and much equipment was lost. Days later in Parit Bunta they were bombed and strafed by Japanese aircraft causing many casualties and more equipment destroyed.


The Battalion held a final defence position at Pontian Kechil on the south west coast of Malaya for 10 days when they were ordered to retreat across the Causeway to Singapore before it was blown up. In Singapore the battalion initially defended the Naval Base and then withdrew again to south of the Bukit Timah road when at long last they were able to prepare a very good defensive position where they expected to give a good account of themselves. There they received the order to surrender, which was met with incredulity and anger by everyone, especially the older Gurkha Officers and NCOs whose ethos was ‘never to give up’.

Then followed 3½ ghastly years as a POW in Changi, the infamous Japanese POW camp. Indeed, after his release from captivity Peter initially remained behind in Malaya to collect up other survivors of the Battalion who had been imprisoned outside Singapore, before he was repatriated to India.

But drama was to strike again a few years later when he, his wife, and their two children at that time, Richard (aged 2) and Charlie (7 months), embarked on the Empire Windrush to set sail for England from Singapore for leave. Off Algeria there was an explosion in the engine room and 4 seamen were killed. The ship caught fire and had to be abandoned. Charlie was thrown like a rugby ball by an Italian sailor into a lifeboat and thankfully caught by a safe pair of hands. The ship was towed to Gibraltar but sank off the coast and the Kemmis Bettys lost everything. The family returned from Algeria to England via Gibraltar. Later Peter was posted back to the 2nd Battalion and fought through the Malayan Emergency where he commanded the Battalion in the latter stages, for which he was Mentioned in Despatches.

 Leaving aside Peter’s distinguished military career he was a very good sportsman. Skiing was his favourite sport and he skied from the age of 6 to 86! Most of this was done at a time when there were few if any ski lifts or pistes and he and his brother would ascend up the mountain for a couple of hours wearing skins to get one run down off-piste. When he retired from the Army he became Secretary of the Army Ski Association and ran the Army and Inter Services Championships. But skiing wasn’t the only thing Peter enjoyed to an advanced age. He was a very decent squash player and probably a better tennis player. He was also a very fine single figure handicap golfer.

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A Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) award that was granted in Sep 1947 has finally been presented. WO2 Khadak Chettri (GSPS) received the MBE on behalf of his grandfather Subedar Major (Late) Kalu Chettri’s MBE MC at Buckingham Palace on Fri 13 May 2016.  

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A Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) award that was granted in Sep 1947 has finally been presented. WO2 Khadak Chheri (GSPS) received the MBE on behalf of his grandfather Subedar Major (Late) Kalu Chettri’s MBE MC at Buckingham Palace on Fri 13 May 2016. The MBE was awarded in recognition of his outstanding bravery and resilience shown during 3 and a half years of captivity in the Prisoner of War Camps during the Second World War. For full details and photographs visit the GBA Website, and the Army MOD/News and Features website ‘Gurkha Awarded MBE 70 Years Late’ where you can also read the citations for his MC and MBE.

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js46_Christopher Lavender Mutiny Memorial

Photograph of Christopher Lavender visiting the Indian Mutiny Memorial on Delhi Ridge – suitably attired in January. Seen here pointing out the casualties of the Sirmur Battalion (319) with his trusty old Blackthorn!  He conducted a tour of Mutiny sites in Delhi en route to the battlefields of Imphal and Kohima.






js46_Major Lyons-Montgomery

Whilst at Kohima I found a valiant 2nd Goorkha officer buried at Kohima – Maj HG Lyons-Montgomery – who was a Brigade Major and quite possibly served with 50 Indian Parachute Brigade. Bruce forwarded his Regimental  Register prepared by Denis Wood. When we visited Kohima various of our party decided to sponsor a Naga child to go to school through the Kohima Educational Trust (KET) for a modest amount. However the KET like to link this to someone who fought and died at the battle – and then the student is encouraged to go and visit the grave and understand a little about the huge upheaval that occurred in the lives of their grandparents. I have called my sponsorship after Maj HG Lyons-Montgomery. Apart from him being the only 2nd Goorkha that I could find on the Cemetery he is the best link I will have to an exceptional sportsman – according  to his record at Sandhurst as well as winning the Sword of Honour at Sandhurst.


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